I just bought (and watched) Disney’s DVD movie “Miracle”, which as most of you know, is based on the 1980 U.S. Hockey Gold medal performance at Lake Placid.
The movie is chock full of patriotic themes, and considering the dire circumstances the U.S. found itself back then, it was a much needed morale boost for the entire country. Much like the other feel good sports movie recently released, Seabiscuit, it underlined that when a country is besieged by bad times, the best possible solution is for the people of our great country to find something to be proud of, and to rally behind.
Gee, sounds like we could use a dose of that right about now.
Let’s also not just forget that these athletes have been training for years – heck, some most of their whole lives – and winning an Olympic event is the defining, watershed moment of their existence. Who are we to tell them, at THEIR moment, how to celebrate?
The Olympics didn’t really become a political ego measuring tool until Hitler at the 1936 Berlin games decided it was going to attempt to showcase the supposed Aryan superiority over the world. Since that time, the Olympics became a metaphor for the struggle of the western capitalistic way of life versus the socialist. Boycotts, medal counts, and flag waving have become so engrained that it can’t ever be removed without destroying the whole ceremonial hoopla it’s become, even after the fall of the Soviet Union.
If the Olympic Committee wants to remove flag waving, how about starting at the medal ceremony itself? Rip off the country flags from the athlete uniforms. Tell the television networks to remove country designations from their broadcasts when showing lane assignments. Stop the medal counts. Don’t allow ANY fans to carry into the arenas their country flags. Don’t do the “flags of the world” displays during the opening and closing ceremonies. Take down every single country flag, name, or reference to every venue, button, souvenir, or food court. Stop corporate sponsorships. Tell all the OTHER athletes to not drape themselves with their country’s flag when they take their victory lap.
Yes, I’m being sarcastic.
The bottom line, we’re the United States of America. We have nothing to fear but fear itself (to plagiarize Franklin D. Roosevelt). If we allow these terrorists to make us cower, and shrink from the limelight, they have won. It’s time for our country to embrace ourselves, and our athletes, and try and feel good about ourselves again. Heaven knows, no one else is going to do it for us. Let the athletes celebrate how they want. It’s THEIR time in the spotlight, and it’s not for some pencil-necked paper-pusher to decide that.
Glenn Geiss writes the
"Fan Noise" column for Seahawks.NET every Thursday. Feel free to send
him feedback at email@example.com.